HAMPSTEAD – As we do every year it’s time to say goodbye, time to say hello, and time to reflect on what was, and what will be as the calendar turns from 2012 to 2013.
There have been so many thrills, spills, and chills provided by this area’s outstanding group of athletes it’s hard to single some out while overlooking others but in keeping with the A-to-Z spirit of things we are offering our wishes for good things in 2013 in various ways. So, here we go:
A is for Angie as in Topsail’s outstanding senior volleyball setter Angie Poage. This dynamic young lady help the Lady Pirates win three straight East Central 2A Conference crowns, and is hoping to continue her volleyball career, along with her education, at the next level. Here’s hoping some college coach realizes this girl is as talented, if not more-so, than your current setter, and that she will give you the proverbial 110% every time she steps on the floor.
B is for Brown, as in Dixon’s Allison Brown. This is another talented, intelligent, and personable young lady who deserves to showcase her talents at the next level, both on the volleyball court and in the classroom.
C is for Carlie Smith, the super-talented Topsail volleyball player who was the cog that made the Lady Pirates’ wheel turn the last four years. Several schools have shown interest in Carlie, and the one who wins the lottery for this young lady is getting something special. Here is our wish for success in whatever you do and whereever you do it, and good luck the rest of the basketball season. Thanks for the memories!
D is for Dixon, as in Pender sophomore fullback Sam Dixon. This young man burst on the scene and quickly established himself as one of the top running backs in the area. Here’s a New Year’s wish for strength, stamina, and success in the rest of your high-school career, and the guidance to not only get the job done on the football field but in the classroom in giving yourself a chance to play at the next level.
E is for Eakins, as in Pender assistant girls’ basketball Coach Laura Eakins. Here’s hoping the Lady Patriots’ girls’ program gets back on track after a couple of really down years, and here’s a thought, a wish, and a suggestion that the transformation begins with Eakins getting a chance to be in charge of the turnaround.
F is for Family Webster, as in Topsail’s Paxton, Alex, and Taylor Webster. Alex and Taylor are excellent soccer players, Alex had great success as the kicker on the Black Hats’ football team, and the lovely and personable Paxton is a Lady Pirates’ cheerleader. Here is our wish for this set of triplets to succeed in whatever is next on their life’s agenda. Great job of parenting, Mom and Dad!
G is for Glenn as in Trask’s Glenn Sellers. Here is our wish for good health and a return to coaching in 2013. Sellers is more than just a football coach, he is a true educator and a gentlemen, and the Titans need your leadership. Get well, coach, and hurry back.
H is for Hagan, as in Topsail’s Tyler. This young man can flat out play the game of basketball, and he is even more adept in the classroom. Tyler has applied to several schools and is awaiting his acceptance letters, but it’s a good bet wherever he lands he will do well. Best wish to a classy young man!
I is for Incoming, as in the group of young student-athletes who will be gracing the fields and courts at the area high schools starting next year. Summer time was spent watching the summer volleyball and softball leagues, and there is some real talent out there. Also had the pleasure of watching the Pender County Middle-School football championship, and there were several players there who are headed to bigger and better things.
J is for Jackie, as in Pender’s irrepressible Jackie Sanabria. Jackie had big footsteps to follow at Pender after the graduation of here multi-talented sister, Jessica, and she has gone on to forge her own identity on the volleyball court and on the softball diamond. Here’s our wish for continued success, and if you need a role model to follow in our life, look no further than your older sister.
K is for Knoerzer’s, as in Meg, Melinda, Aaron, and Bill Knoerzer. If there is another family that defines the true meaning of the words courage, strength, determination, and love more than this group I’m not sure I have met them yet. Here is a sincere wish for a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. Good luck on your next steps, Meg and Aaron, and keep fighting Melinda. Our prayers and thoughts are with you.
L is for Lindsay Noble, as in Trask girls’ basketball Coach Lindsay Noble. This hard-working young coach has a group of girls that are exceeding their ability level with hard work and determination, and it is a credit to the one in charge. Here’s a New year’s wish for a couple of six-foot, talented ball-handlers, shooters, and rebounders to move to Titan Town in the near future.
M is for Miranda, as in Dixon senior Miranda Davis. Talk about a talented young lady who has given the Bulldog fan base everything she has in excelling on the volleyball court, the basketball court, and the soccer pitch. God luck the rest of this, your senior season, and a New Year wish that all your dreams come true.
N is for new Topsail coaches Granville Gehris and Jim Clanahan. Gehris is coming to head up the Pirates’ baseball program, and his (South Jersey) pedigree says success will follow him. Clanahan has come to the area from Georgia and has the Lady Pirates playing a solid brand of basketball, especially considering their youth. Good luck and much success in the future.
O is for Orr, as in Trask boys’ basketball Coach Rodney Orr. After stops at Topsail and Pender Orr seems to be settling in at Trask, and the Titan boys are showing signs of benefitting from this excellent coach’s leadership. Here is a New Year wish that this team continues to get better, and that people in Rocky Point soon realize how lucky they are that you are a Titan.
P is for Pittman, as in Pender sophomore Brianna Pittman. Here is a hope that hard work can further bring out the talent that is obviously there. A very good season is now behind you but more will be expected of you in the future as graduation depletes the Lady Patriots’ volleyball roster. Here is our New Year wish that you seize the opportunity with which you are being presented.
Q is for Quate, as in Pender freshman boys’ basketball player Quate McKinzie. In just a short month and one-half it is obvious there is a lot of talent in this young man, and here is our New Year wish for continued success, not only on the court but in the classroom as you prepare for what I perceive to be a very bright future.
R is for Rasheed Brown, as in Trask junior boys’ basketball player Rasheed Brown. Talk about talent, this young man has a boatload of it, and here is a New Year wish that your individual skills continue to get better, that you achieve success in the classroom, and that you realize that whatever Coach Orr is directing you to do is for your own good, and your continued development.
S is for Sicknick, as in Dixon’s Zack Sicknick. A very talented catcher on the baseball diamond, here is a New Year wish that the baseball looks like a floating beach ball every time you step up to the plate, and that the best is yet to come in your senior season, and that college coaches see the talent that is there.
T is for Trexler, as in Dixon volleyball player Caitlin Trexel. Easily the best Libero I saw all year on the volleyball court, here is New Year wish that you get the opportunity to continue your athletic career at the next level, and that whatever you wish for when it comes to your future become a reality.
U is for unsung, as in the unsung heroes that work hard every day in their respective sports but who often do not receive the recognition of their more athletically-gifted teammates. Those players on the bench work just as hard as the ones on the floor or field, so appreciate their efforts and those of the managers, statisticians, and medical first-responders who do everything behind the scenes with no notoriety or little appreciation.
V is for Vicki, as in Topsail senior Vicki Reilly. This young lady exemplifies the true definition of “team player” as she works hard to do the little things that lead to a team’s success. Here is a New Year wish that your work ethic and team spirit wear off on the young players in the Topsail sports’ programs.
W is for White, as in sisters Mindi and Keri White. Life dealt these young ladies a terrific blow a few years ago when they lost their beloved mother but they have shown an amazing amount of resilience as they have excelled athletically and academically. Here is a New Year wish for a quick healing for senior Mindi that leads to a stupendous senior season on the softball diamond and to young freshman Keri as she strives to learn and get better on the volleyball and basketball courts, and on the softball diamond.
X is for Xtra-curricular activities, whether they be athletics, band, cheerleading, academic clubs, or anything else as they help our young people learn and progress into adulthood. More involvement in any of these activities will make you a more well-rounder person than any of the hours you spend playing video games or talking on social media networks.
Y is for year 2013. This past year (2012) has produced what ABC’s Wide World of Sports referred to as, “The thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat,” and here is our New Year wish for the coaches, athletes, and fans in our area that there are a lot more of the former than of the latter.
Z is for Zoe, as in Topsail senior Zoe Howard. After the graduation of Mandi Wall there was a worry that second base would be a problem for the Lady Pirates’ softball team but Howard came in and put that question mark to rest with her outstanding defensive work in the field, and her solid work at the plate. That led to a chance to continue her athletic career in college, and it is a well-deserved opportunity. Don’t overlook that this is a very intelligent young lady who has also excelled in the classroom, and here is our New Year wish for continue success and the achievement of all of your dreams.
That pretty much sums it up. It was a tremendous year, and a lot of fun having the opportunity to attend the games and watch these talented young people perform. We lost the award-winning and well-respected Topsail Voice when it was suddenly and unceremoniously sold, but Ken Clarke opted to keep the county informed with the Topsail News Online, and I – for one- am thankful to Mr. Clarke for the opportunity he has given me, and the faith he has shown in me while inviting me along for the ride.
But the truth is none of this would have been possible without you, our loyal and much-appreciated readers. To put it in simple words – THANK YOU!!!! Without you we’re nothing.
Here is our wish to all of you for a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year, and our wish for us is that you continue to keep us in your lives.